Lysander is not singular in its identity.
This northwestern Onondaga County community draws tourists in from all over the world for recreational activities along the waterfront, as well as for its rich history in milling, architecture and transportation, and its many parks including Lysander and Mercer parks, Beaver Lake Nature Center and Three Rivers Wildlife Management.
Oh, and let’s not forget the vast agricultural community.
From the tobacco and peony farms of yesteryear to the organic farms in operation today, greater Baldwinsville’s acres of agriculture contribute significantly to supporting the Central New York community and beyond.
“Farming has been a very large part of Lysander from its early days and remains so today. We felt it was time to tie into and highlight this,” said Ann Smiley, director of Lysander’s Parks and Recreation Department, which has organized the first ever Farm Fest to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday (May 19). The event aims to highlight the farming community in Lysander.
Smiley learned of a similar event held in Clifton Park during a conference last year. “It just seemed so appropriate with our large farming community that we decided to give it a try,” she said of bringing the idea to Lysander.
Families are encouraged to visit four local farms and experience what it takes to make a modern-day agricultural facility operate.
“We think this will be a great family event and we hope the community comes out to each of the locations,” she said.
Participating farms include Abbott Farms, Bella Via Farms, Smoke Tree Farms and Stillwater Farms.
“We were so fortunate that we had the four farms that agreed to jump on board,” Smiley said. “Even better is that all four farms are different. Abbotts Farms is a fruit/vegetable type farm, Bella Via Farm is a goat farm, Smoke Tree Farms is a horse farm and Stillwater Farms is a beef cattle farm. In the last week, we have learned of at least two other farms that might be interested for next year, so hopefully it will grow.”
Read more about each farm below:
A family owned farm serving the local community since 1866, Abbott Farms grows fruits and vegetables and provides free-range beef. During Farm Fest, the facility will offer workshops about their baby animals, information on anti-oxidant rich foods, an “Ask the Farmer” session, wagon rides, product samples and much more.
“Learn about life on the farm, how our food is grown and how you can bring healthy food choices to your dinner table and family throughout the year,” said owner Warren Abbott.
Stop by Abbott Farms’ Country Farm Store as well where you can shop for farm fresh local dairy, produce, gift items, bulk foods and baked goods. Abbott Farms is located at 3275 Cold Springs Road; call 638-SPUD or visit abbottfarms.com.
Bella Via Farms
Bella Via Farms is a family goat farm as well as a modern processing facility. Striving to produce a high quality alternative to traditional cow milk for consumers that have problems digesting the proteins in cow milk, Bella Via offers goat milk as a dairy choice.
“Goats in general are the most consumed meat and Dairy product in the world,” said Bella Stahl, who owns the facility with her husband, Kevin. In addition to being very resilient animals with a much smaller eco footprint than that of cattle, most people can digest goat’s milk even if they can’t digest cow’s milk because the protein is smaller in goat products, Bella added.
During Farm Fest, Bella Via will offer guided tours of the cheese and milk bottling plant as well as milking demos at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. There will also be a baby goat petting area, food demos including feta cheese bruschetta and tastings of goat products (milk, cheese, ice cream and fudge) and the CNY Dairy Goat Association will have an informational booth on site.
Bella Via Farms is located at 8827 Avery Road; call 303-5061 or visit bellaviafarms.com.
Smoke Tree Farms
An 80-acre horse farm, Smoke Tree Farms aims to develop successful riders and well-rounded horsemen both in and out of the hunter, jumper and equitation show rings. The farm also boasts an award winning equestrian team competing at various venues.
“We offer camps, lessons, community activities, boarding, showing and training,” said owner …
During Farm Fest, Smoke Tree Farms will offer pony rides, demos on different levels of riding and jumping with an instructor, face painting and a raffle for a free riding lesson. There will also be learning stations held about horses throughout the day.
Smoke Tree Farms is located at 8911 Plainville Road; call 678-2358 or visit smoketreefarm.com
Stillwater Farms raises Angus/Simmental cross beef as well as various types and mixtures of hay that is sold locally and out of state to both horse and cow operations. During Farm Fest, Stillwater Farms will offer tours of the harvesting equipment and finished products as well as viewing of two pet Nigerian Dwarf goats and a halflinger horse. A Q&A on beef herd management feeding and waste, rotational grazing program and the different types of beef finishing styles, beef grading and processing will also be conducted. Stillwater Farms is located at 3551 Patchett Road; call 638-9138 or visit stillwaterfarmsbaldwinsville.com.
As part of Farm Fest, the Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse will have an exhibit on Baldwinsville’s Specialty Heritage Farming, Peonies and Tobacco, as well as an activity titled Walk the History Trail.
Held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., participants must register at the museum that day to receive their clue sheet and be eligible for the prize drawing. Clues will direct participants to a short series of historic sites within an easy walk of each other in the village. Upon finding the site, participants will be given a History Trail Trading Card. Those who return to the museum with a completed set of cards go into the winners’ drawing.
Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse is located at 46 Canton St.; call 638-2452 or visit shacksboromuseum.com.